Every child is unique and special in their own way. However, some children may experience difficulty processing and responding to certain sensory information, which may hamper their daily activities. This is known as Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD). Fortunately, specialized therapies are available to help a child overcome these challenges. This blog post will cover how sensory therapy services are designed to help kids with sensory processing challenges and the benefits that come along with it.
First, Is A Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)?
SPD stems from a problem with how the body processes sensory information, such as receiving, interpreting, and organizing information from the senses.
This can apply to the five senses (sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste) or the vestibular system (sense of balance and spatial orientation).
When someone has a sensory processing issue, they might be overly sensitive to certain sensations, have trouble filtering out background noise or lights, or be unaware of stimuli around them. This can lead to feeling overwhelmed, easily distracted, irritable, or anxious.
Kids with sensory processing difficulties can either experience a sensory overload, which can lead to anxiety or stress, or a sensory underload, which can cause the child to seek out sensory input in new situations.
Sensory therapy is a form of treatment that aims to address sensory processing issues in kids. These therapies can range from simple exercises like brushing the skin to more complex activities like swinging.
What Is Sensory Therapy?
Sensory therapy is a form of occupational therapy that focuses on addressing and managing sensory processing challenges in children. It helps children to process and integrate sensory information, making it easier for them to interact and participate in daily activities.
The primary goal of sensory therapy is to help children manage and respond to sensory stimuli more effectively.
Sensory therapy can be done in different ways, including using specialized equipment that provides sensory input or engagement in activities that stimulate the sensory systems in the body. It can also be provided in various ways, including individual sessions, group sessions, and school-based interventions.
5 Types Of Sensory Therapy To Know
Music therapy is a type of sensory therapy that can be helpful for kids with sensory processing issues. This therapy uses music to help a child regulate their emotions and develop social interactions. This could be singing, playing instruments, listening to different types of music, and even therapeutic dance or movement with music.
Occupational therapy can be another sensory therapy for children with sensory processing challenges. It aims to enhance a child’s ability to engage in daily activities by addressing sensory, cognitive, and motor difficulties.
Occupational therapists can help children improve their sensory processing abilities by creating individualized treatment plans incorporating sensory integration techniques like brushing, deep pressure therapy, weighted vest, etc.
Sensory Integration Therapy
Sensory integration therapy is a form of sensory therapy that involves using specialized equipment and activities designed to provide sensory input to a child’s body.
This therapy provides a child with sensory input that helps them better process and integrate sensory information. Sensory integration therapy can be tailored to each child’s unique sensory processing needs.
Sensory Play Therapy
Sensory play therapy is another way to help a child with sensory issues. Sensory play involves engaging in activities that stimulate the senses using different materials such as sand, water, play dough, rice, etc. This therapy can enhance sensory processing abilities and improve attention, language, motor skills, and social interaction.
Speech therapy is another form of sensory therapy that can help kids with sensory processing challenges. Children who struggle with sensory processing may experience difficulty with speech and language development.
Speech therapists can help a child develop communication and language skills using various techniques, such as multisensory teaching techniques.
Sensory Therapy Activities
A wide variety of sensory activities can be used in therapy sessions. Some examples include:
- Deep pressure massages
- Weighted blankets or vests
- Swinging and rocking activities
- Hand and finger strengthening exercises
- Sensory bins or boxes
- Calming music or white noise
- Therapeutic brushes
- Balancing and coordination activities
The therapist will work with the child and their family to determine which activities benefit their needs.
Sensory Therapy Benefits
Sensory therapy services can effectively address the unique sensory needs of children with sensory issues. This type of therapy can help kids with the following:
- Feel confident and capable
- Complete tasks and activities that they might have struggled with before
- Improve ability to process sensory information
- Regulate emotions
- Interact positively with the environment
- Boost physical abilities
- Regulate responses to sensory input or sensory output
With the help of sensory therapy, a child can also develop the critical skills needed to navigate their world with greater ease and comfort.
Is Sensory Therapy Right For Your Child?
If you suspect your child might have sensory processing issues, it’s essential to consult with a professional who can evaluate their needs. A professional occupational therapist or speech therapist can help you understand your child’s specific challenges and recommend appropriate therapies.
While sensory therapy may not be the right choice for every child, it can be a helpful tool for many children with SPD.
Overall, sensory therapy can be an effective way to help children with sensory processing issues develop the skills they need to thrive.
Whether your child is struggling with touch aversion, sound sensitivity, or other sensory challenges, there are sensory therapy services that can help. If you want to learn more about this type of therapy, don’t hesitate to contact a professional sensory therapist in your area, OR if you need help finding an occupational therapist near you, click here.
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